Why You Shouldn’t “Play Through the Pain”

by | Aug 24, 2017 | Sports Injuries

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional player, high-school athlete, recreational runner, or “weekend warrior” looking for a pick-up game. If you love sports and activity, you just can’t wait until the next time you can cut loose on the field of play.

Of course, we want you to be passionate about play! It’s a great way to stay healthy, physically and mentally. But that passion can sometimes spill over into recklessness, especially once the aches, sprains, and injuries start to pile up.

Don't Play Through the Pain

A lot of us in the past were told to “walk it off” or “play through the pain” if we felt a nagging twinge. If you don’t have to be taken off in a stretcher yet, you’re fit enough to stay on the field, right? Wrong. We know you don’t want to leave, but playing through the pain is almost never a good idea.

Here’s why:

You’re not as good at assessing the severity of your injury as you think you are (and neither is your coach). We’ve lost count of the number of times somebody came into our office to complain about a slow-healing sprain, only to learn that their ankle had been badly broken. And there are many more examples of players running back on the field without realizing they’d suffered a severe injury until later. The desire to remain on the field is strong, and the rush of endorphins and other chemicals may hide the true cost of the pain. If it hurts, don’t take the risk.

In the best-case scenario, playing through the pain will continue to delay and impair your healing. Overuse injuries especially need rest to heal. Playing through, say, heel pain or stress fractures doesn’t give them the time they need, so they never get better and keep nagging at you.

In the worst-case scenario, playing through the pain will turn a minor injury into a major one. Consider stress fractures. In the beginning, cracks in the bone are small and can recover on their own with rest. Keep adding on that stress, however, and the cracks can deepen and even become “full” fractures. Likewise, tendons, muscles, and ligaments that have been weakened by overuse may eventually tear or rupture completely. Then, instead of taking a few days or weeks of rest and conservative care, you’re potentially looking at surgery and a lengthy recovery.

Resist the urge to walk it off! A little soreness or fatigue is one thing, but if you’re hurting, get off your feet and give the team at the Kansas Foot Center a call. We know what healthy feet mean to you and will do everything we can to get you up and running again in no time. You can reach our office at (866) 222-5177.